12 Things Not To Buy In 2016
This time of the year is a good time to set goals for next year. A perennial favorite is, “I will not buy everything I want.” But even better might be “I will not want everything I see.” Some highly-touted products are outright scams, while others have alternatives that are much less expensive. Some are available for free! Read on to see my list of things NOT to buy in 2016...
Don't Buy These Products!
You don’t have to fall for marketers’ temptations, but you don’t always have to deny yourself the benefits they tout, either. The functionality of some products may be included in others that you already own, or available free of charge, or at least a lot cheaper than “as seen on TV.”
Some other products may just be unnecessary, and the worst are complete scams that don’t deliver any benefit. Let's go through my list of stuff on which you shouldn't spend your hard-earned money:
WINDOWS 10 -- I'm not dissing the latest and greatest from the folks in Redmond, mind you. It's just that if you have Windows 7 or 8.1, the upgrade to Windows 10 is free until July 28, 2016. If you’re still using XP or Vista, you’re better off buying a modern PC when you replace that obsolete operating system; all new Windows PCs come with Windows 10.
ANTIVIRUS -- Along those lines, are you still paying for internet security software? There's nothing wrong with the Norton or McAfee antivirus that came with your computer, except for the price tag. My article on Free Anti-Virus Programs will clue you in on several alternatives that provide excellent protection.
DIGITAL CAMERAS -- Clunky dedicated digital cameras are dispensable for the average consumer. The mobile phones of days gone by had wimpy 1.3 megapixel (MP) lenses, but the high-resolution cameras and photography software built into today’s smartphones and tablets are more than sufficient for non-professional uses. The latest iPhones have 8MP cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 both have 16 MP. On the high end, there's the Nokia Lumia 950 (20MP) and the 1020 (41MP) smartphones.
One exception, especially if you are an avid photgrapher, might be a compact digital camera. See my article Are Digital Cameras Extinct? for the scoop on those.
PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING YOU FIND ON A CROWDFUNDING SITE such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. A lot people people mistakenly think they’re buying a product when they contribute to crowdfunding projects. In fact, you’re actually investing in a company, with the usual risk of losing your investment if the company fails. A lot of crowdfunding projects fail to ever deliver a product, and many more experience months-long delays, quality disasters, and other problems. One perfect example is the $500 Coolest Cooler that was hyped on Kickstarter. I covered this boondoggle in The Biggest Tech Flops of 2015.
BEATS BY DR. DRE or anything bearing Dre’s name. After all, he’s the guy who famously said, “If you ain’t in it for the money get out (of) the game.” Beats Solo HD headphones sell for $199 (the top model costs $450). But they cost just $20 to manufacture. About 30% of their total weight is inert metal weights inserted just to add “heft.”
TAXI RIDES, if you live in a major city. Uber and Lyft are considerably cheaper, unless you get stung by “surge pricing” because you didn’t pay attention to the notice on your smartphone screen. Car-sharing services, like Car2Go and ZipCar, let you rent a car right off the street for short trips, and you can drop it off just about anywhere.
BRAND-NAME PRINTER INK -- Brand-name printer ink cartridges can be a huge rip-off. A single black cartridge, rated for less than 1,000 pages, can cost $60 at an office supply store! Remanufactured ink cartridges cost less than $10 or $20 each from independent suppliers. You may have to deal with false “out of genuine ink” warnings from your printer, but you can click them away while counting your savings. And contrary to rumors perpetuated by printer manufacturers, using alternative ink cartridges does not void your printer’s warranty. See The Truth About Discount Ink Cartridges.
CABLE TV -- Consumers are “cutting the cable” in ever increasing numbers - between 280,000 and 360,000 unsubscribed in the third quarter of 2015, up from 189,000 the year before. Why pay well over $100/month for hundreds of channels, most of which you never watch? Netflix, with a huge library of movies and TV episodes, plus original programming, costs $9 a month. Amazon Prime subscribers get Amazon Video as well as free two-day shipping. Hulu offers day-old episodes of popular programs from ABC, the CW, Fox Network, and NBC. See my Cord Cutter's Cost Comparison Calculator article.
ANYTHING THAT REMOTELY RESEMBLES A TINFOIL HAT, whether it goes on your head or your wallet. In 2014, I debunked the totally useless $15 “Signal Vault,” a credit card sized envelope that claimed to prevent hackers from reading your card over distances up to 25 feet. Now we have “Shield: the world’s first signal-proof headwear.” Yes, it’s a stylish tinfoil hat. Did I also mention it’s on Kickstarter?
YOUR CREDIT REPORT -- You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major reporting service. You really don’t need to review your credit report more than three times a year. See HOWTO: Get Your Free Credit Report Online.
Also, CREDIT MONITORING AND/OR IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION programs offer peace of mind, but that may already be yours for free. Most banks offer limitations of liability for unauthorized card charges. Many offer free transaction alerts via email and SMS messages. And credit reporting agencies will “freeze” your credit history so no one can open a new line of credit unbeknown to you. See 10 TIPS: Identity Theft Protection.
A DEDICATED GPS NAVIGATION DEVICE -- Smartphone apps such as Waze for Android and GPS Navigation for iOS provide voice-guided, turn by turn directions to any destination. Plus, they can network with other users to create real-time traffic jam and speed trap information.
Do you have something to add to my "Do Not Buy" list? Post your comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Dec 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- 12 Things Not To Buy In 2016 (Posted: 24 Dec 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved